Chapeau de Gendarme 2685 m
The Ubaye Valley is an area belonging to the French Alpes de Haute-Provence, situated in proximity of France - Italy border. The two main climbing areas of Ubaye are quite unlike; the Maljasset area shows some beautiful peaks, as Aiguille Large de Mary and Aiguille Pierre André, built in by quartzite, while the Barcelonnette area is dominated by two awesome limestone towers: Pain de Sucre and the close Chapeau de Gendarme, both located along the road rising from Barcelonnette to the Col de la Cayolle and crossing the little village of Villard d’Abas.
From here each climber’s eye is inevitably attracted from the stunning triangular face of Chapeau de Gendarme, meaning "Cop's hat", a surprising and coloured wall offering a limestone of exceptional quality, the best one of Ubaye. The first route – “Accloche-toi Jeannot” - was realized in 1993 by R. Chevalier, G. Fiaschi and J. Golè. At present the peak has eight routes.
From Barcelonnette follow the narrow road rising toward Col de la Cayolle as far as the village of Villard d’Abas (14 km. from Barcelonnette). Parking after the village in a road pull-out (bridge, Equipment House, mt. 1530).
Walking approach The path is starting nearby the bridge and it’s quickly rising to the small village of Vèsinat; with several hairpins the path rises inside a nice wood and reachs a fork after walking for 45 minutes. Turn to right, reaching the ruins of Petite Cloche, rising towards left along meadows, little woods and a steep grassy slope leading to the grassy horizontal ledge cutting the wall 80 mt. over the base. Follow the ledge towards right, reaching a wide gully. Up the gully; a fixed rope leads to an other ledge. Follow the ledge skirting the wall towards left and reaching the bell at the starting point of the route.
Sonnez et Montez (Ring and climb)
Summit altitude: 2565 m
Difficulty: F6a max, 5c+ obbl.
Length: 240 m
First ascent: R. Chevalier – J. Golè 1995
Starting point: Villard d’Abas
A superb logic line, direct and aesthetic; an homogeneous climb on excellent grey limestone. Good belays and equipment. Before climbing...don't forget to ring the bell!
L1- Climb a short slant corner, a flake and a grey slab surrounding a huge overhang on its left-hand side. Belay on a terrace over the overhang. 5b, then 5c.
L2 – Rise along two subsequent little pillars on their left side, then climb a short grey wall. Climb a fine slab on the pillar's right-hand side. 4c, 5b, 6a+, 5c.
L3 – Climb a shallow corner, reaching a little ledge, then a compact slab. 5b, 6a
L4 – Climb a big flake, leave the flake on your right-hand side and then up a slab, alternating compact rock and thin cracks. A little corner slanting left leads towards left to a steep slab. Climb the slab to the belay. 5c, 6a.
L5 – From the belay head to left to reach a chimney-crack. Climb it, then a corner, overhanging in its upper section. A new easier chimney leads to the belay.
L6 - Traverse 5 meters to right, climb a wall lightly overhanging, then a grey and pleasant slab. Short pitch, belay on the left. 5c, A0
L7 - Great pitch. Climb directly a superb slab, steep and sculpted. 5c+, 5b
Two choices for the descent:
- the best one is abseiling the route by seven "gazeuse" abseils - another chance is a scramble down along the very steep East grassy slopes
No particular restrictions in climbing and hiking.
- Serpent d’etoile TD+, 6c max, 6a obbl., 300 m.
- Boulevard des choucas TD+, 6c max, 6a obbl., 280 m.
- Accloche-toi Jeannot TD+, 6b max, 6a obbl., 280 m.
- A cloche-pied TD, 6a max, 5+ obbl., 350 m.
- Les frères chamois ED-, 7a max, 6b obbl., 200 m.
- Gags à gogo TD+, 6b max, 200 m.
- Les jeans heureux D+, 6a max, 5b obbl., 300 m.
Best season goes from June to October
In Barcelonnette there is a wide choice of different kinds of accommodations: hotels, appartments, campgrounds and gites d´etape.
“Alpes du Sud, Provence” by Hervè Galley, Editions Olizane, Geneve
“La grimpe en Ubaye” by Colin Michel CAF
Barcelonnette 3540 OT